There are two people whom I trust when speaking about the art of putting together the perfect mix tape. One, is Rob Gordon (shown above), and while I know he is a fictional character, he speaks the absolute truth about mix tapes. The other person whom I trust is Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has proven to me that I was doing it right all along, yet never did it enough for those whom I truly loved.

So I find myself going through my music, searching for the proper soundtrack, when a thought occurs to me. Lightning strikes my brain in the least painful way. “Panda,” I said to myself. “This character that you’ve been writing, that you’ve been creating, that you’ve been focusing on… he’s EXACTLY your age!” And then I laughed for a good twenty minutes because I realized that I knew exactly what he was listening to growing up, and exactly what he was listening to at that very moment.

A huge part of the plot came to me the last time I was home. I wasn’t there for long, but as per the usual there are always a number of boxes filled with my crap in the basement of my parents’ house — where, I might add, I spent my formative years — for me to rummage through. And so I did just that. And in one of these boxes I found a number of notes, folded in all sorts of strange ways, all written either to me or by me and my boyfriend collectively, back and forth, stuffed in my locker… well. Regardless of what may have been in those sap-covered creations, I thought perhaps that maybe, just maybe, both generations of characters in my story share their love story through, well, love letters.

Now all I need to do is remember how to write a love letter.

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